Preventing and Treating Injuries with Braces
Our joints are busy working when we move about and perform our daily activities. Those who work in environments in which they must use their joints on a constant basis (i.e. construction) or those who engage in sports activities know how easy it can be to sustain an injury, and re-injure.
Preventing injuries is really important. Far too many people think they will heal from their injury and life carries on. Yes and no. The immediate healing may appear to be fine however, what usually happens later in life is a cause for concern.
Aside from age, weight and heredity, injury to the knees or ankles is one of the biggest factors in developing osteoarthritis (OA) later in life. This is the most common type of arthritis, which involves the inflammation and breakdown of cartilage in the joints and the numbers of those who are afflicted with OA are skyrocketing.
Muscle strength across the joints (and the spine) stabilizes and is very important in helping to prevent injuries. Elliptical machines, stationary bikes, rowing machines, walking, and swimming are examples of low-impact cardio activities that will provide muscle strengthening.
If your job or sport activity requires a lot of movement then be sure to do some warm up activities before starting and always remember to do some cool down stretches at the end.
Environmental factors such as bumpy, hard and uneven surfaces often cause injuries, particularly to the ankle. Avoiding these environments or being careful in these areas is important.
Braces help support and promote proper function and movement, either in preventing or furthering damage to a susceptible area of your body. Sprains, muscle strain, or tendon tears should always be taken seriously and the affected area should have brace support to prevent further injury even in basic daily activities. In some cases even nerve damage can be aided with the help of braces.
The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has studied the effects of wearing braces as a form of prevention. They studied high school basketball players who wore stabilizing lace-up ankle braces and found that 68 percent were less likely to suffer an ankle injury than the athletes who did not wear braces.
Another study, also by University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, found similar results. Both studies involved randomized, controlled trials of large groups of high school basketball and football players. In both studies, there was a significant protective benefit in wearing the ankle brace, whether or not the athlete had experienced a previous sprain.
Interestingly, researchers found no negative effects of preventative bracing.
Braces for Joints at High Risk of Injury
A back brace is designed to protect the lower back and reduce stress on the joints and muscles of the lower back during strenuous activities. This type of brace restricts end-of-range spinal movements and provides stability and support. Back braces are not usually used as a preventative; they are generally beneficial for people who are suffering from lower back pain or injury, especially those who have chronic back pain or the potential to re-aggravate a prior injury. A back brace can also used to keep the area warm which helps to reduce the risk of sprains and strains.
Many people find that a thumb brace is great for arthritis as it can support, stabilize, and relieve some of the pain. Thumbs perform an incredible amount of activity on any given day and an arthritic thumb or an injured thumb affects the ability to execute daily tasks. Thumb braces are designed to give support by keeping them in the correct position and taking pressure off of damaged areas. These braces are ideal for mild to moderate injuries involving the wrist and thumb including dequarvains, synovitis, or arthritis.
A wrist brace can help to immobilize the area or simply provide flexible support for those suffering from an injury, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis. The level of flexibility of a wrist brace is geared toward the condition in which the person is suffering.
When the elbow is pushed beyond the normal limit, injury can occur. Elbow braces can be used to treat common injuries, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, epicondylitis and arthritis joint pain. If lifting heavy weight on the job or working out, having an elbow brace can help in reducing the chance of injury.
Knees endure more strain than most other joints because they support the body's weight. They are used in supporting frequent changes of direction as well as in sudden impacts. Knee braces are commonly used as supports for those who are in sports and in strenuous jobs that require a lot of stress on the knees. For those who experience pain, they are used to help reduce pain, provide stability and prevent re-injury. A brace can be additional support for mild sprains and strains of the muscles and ligament within and surrounding the knee.
An ankle brace can offer mild support to weak or injured ankles and is ideal for daily use after a mild ankle sprain or strain. These braces stabilize, support and limit range-of-motion of the ankle joint. For those who are prone to ankle injuries, braces are used to immobilize injured ankles or provide joint protection to injuries. Some people use a brace to help relieve general heel pain, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and to treat Achilles tendon issues. There are also many braces that offer protective support by promoting lateral and medial stability.
Established in 2007 by Dr. Behfar Sanjari, Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has been committed to providing quality health care services to the Greater Toronto Area for over half a decade. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has qualified professionals who can help you in determining what brace is best for you. We have clinics located in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, call 905-918-0419 or 905-235-2620 for more information.